Theatre review - Anything Goes, Basics Junior Theatre School, Pendle Hippodrome Theatre

PUBLISHED: 10:24 11 December 2014

Anything Goes, Pendle Hippodrome

Anything Goes, Pendle Hippodrome


Anything Goes – Basics Junior Theatre School – Pendle Hippodrome Theatre - Wednesday 10th December 2014

Cole Porter’s musical extravaganza, “Anything Goes” comes to Burnley. This time it is the turn of the Basics Junior Theatre School to perform. From its debut on Broadway in 1934 to the Pendle Hippodrome eighty years later in 2014, “Anything Goes” has been played a number of times all over the world and it is a genuine classic that has something for everyone.

Set aboard the SS America, the musical is a love story on a ship containing a stowaway, a minister, a gangster and a celebrity singer. It is the story of Billy Crocker who opts to hide on board the ship, rather than to stay on Wall Street for his boss, Elisha Whitney, to pursue his love who is due to marry Lord Evelyn Oakleigh. The musical is fantastic combination of comedy, drama, singing and dancing.

Richard Sanderson took directorial duties keeping it within the Basics family as Richard himself was a member of the group for ten years leaving when he was eighteen. It goes to show that the theatre school can hone many talents within youngsters and set them on their way with their careers. I spoke briefly to Richard before the performance and felt the excitement of the show bubbling inside him. The actors from the show had all congregated in the bar area and were immersed in conversations with themselves – completely in character all the time and without interacting with the audience. It was if they were actually waiting to board the ship. It was an idea from Richard who says that he likes to incorporate something different to the start of the shows that he directs to how they are usually done. It was different, but inventive and a credit to Richard for his directorial flare and ability to interject his own ideas into his work.

Basics Junior Theatre School cut no corners when they put on a show. It is a solid twelve months of hard work with vocals, harmonies and choreography alongside the acting. The performances I have witnessed from the group are proof that all the hard work has paid off once again. They spared no expense with a set not too dissimilar to a West End or even a Broadway production and from the opening curtain we were once again exposed to the true talent the school has to offer.

With a cast of over 30 students there was a lot of work for director, Richard Sanderson and choreographer, Helen Cheung to do to ensure the piece flowed and their collective hard work and dedication to the theatre was key to the overall performance. The choreography in particular was beautiful and some of the routines were complex and lengthy, but the actors pulled them off without fault.

The real stars of the show are the students and the Basics conveyor belt of talent has once again served up another helping of future stars whose careers are destined for greater heights. Jess Balderstone shone in the lead role of Reno Sweeney who took centre stage with a lot of the musical pieces delivering beautiful singing performances to life with a truly wonderful voice. She was joined by Jake Simpson who played Billy Crocker displaying great abilities in dancing and singing, particularly in the harmonies with other lead characters which he excelled in. Karen Wilkinson played Hope Harcourt with an angelic singing voice coupled with wonderful movement on the stage. Other actors that shone in their performances were Bradley Ellor as Moonface Martin who showcased fantastic talent, Georgia Salkeld as Erma who has a bright future ahead of her as an actor as well as a singer and Jack Herbert as Lord Evelyn Oakleigh whose comedic performance was one of the highlights of the show. He delivered his lines with such professionalism and skill that it is obvious he will go far with his theatrical career.

The cast were supported by a powerful orchestra for the musical pieces led by Musical Director, Andrew Marshall whose accompaniment gave the numbers vibrancy and lift from the outstanding musicians under his guidance.

It is the ensemble that showcases the real talent and I would love to highlight every individual student in the show as everyone performed their parts exceptionally. With the performances will no doubt come the rewards, whether in individual progression or as a collective group. The school were presented with the Best Musical Award at the prestigious Howard Rigg Pendle Theatre Awards earlier in the year for their portrayal of Miss Saigon which was thoroughly deserved and I am sure there will be more to follow.

It is remarkable that the younger generation are not only sharing an interest in theatre, but are displaying such exceptional talents in the process which could give adult actors a run for their money. The only reward for their hard work is for people to go and see them, to support the work they are doing, to support theatre in general and to support the school so they can continue to produce the wonderful singers, dancers and actors of the next generation.

The show is running up until and including Saturday 13th December at the Pendle Hippodrome at 7.30pm.

For more information regarding the group please visit their Facebook page at -


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